How many times have you woken up all motivated and ready to get on and then you get distracted into procrastinating by something or someone? It happened to me just this week!
Maybe you get stuck into your email and don’t surface for another few hours. Or maybe social media gets the better of you. Or a good friend pops by for a coffee. Or your favourite Netflix series has a new episode go live. It doesn’t matter what it is, whatever happens gets in the way and distracts from the task that you had planned…if you let it!
There’s a simple strategy to stop this happening though…
The Process Starts the Night Before
The idea is that you make the important task the priority first thing in the morning and work on that before anything else. And that process starts the night before. As you are closing down for the evening, take a bit of time to make a plan for what you need to do the following day. Pick your three most important tasks. They are the tasks that are going to allow you to make progress on your projects. They don’t have to be for the same project but they do need to be the most important tasks to do next.
Plan your MITs
Write these ‘most important tasks’ (MITs) down. They don’t have to be big tasks, just those that move the dial forwards. Ideally they shouldn’t take longer than an hour to accomplish, which makes them seem far more accomplishable.
When you get started in the morning, look at your MIT list and get to work straightaway on these tasks before you do anything else and get distracted. Don’t check your email. Don’t go on your phone. Don’t answer the phone or plan in any meetings or conversations before you’ve achieved these three tasks. They should be your number one priority.
Don’t Get Distracted Into Procrastinating
Just getting on and starting the day with these tasks will make a huge difference, both in moving your projects forwards but also in getting motivated and creating momentum for the day. If you put them off, they either won’t get done or you’ll be working on them at the wrong time with depleted energy levels.
A caveat, if you’re a night bird like me who takes a bit of getting going in the mornings. Your best MIT time might be an hour or two into your working day or at another time when your energy levels are peaking – in which case, get really clear on when that time is and ensure those tasks take priority at that time rather than first thing in the morning.
Aside from the above, simply being more aware of what things, devices, and people tempt you to procrastinate is helpful. When you find that you’ve put something off, look back and see if you can pinpoint what caused that to happen. Then take action towards preventing it from happening in the future.